Modal verbs (such as can, could, shall, should, will, would, may, might, and must) combine with verbs in the bare infinitive to express information about the verb such as possibility or necessity.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

22
votes
5answers
5k views

Why should I use “ought to”?

Is "ought to" still used in modern English? If yes, in what contexts is it used, and is it used more in formal or informal cases?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Would certainly have or certainly would have?

I have these confusions sometimes. Firstly, which among the following are grammatically correct to use in sentences- She would certainly have loved that. She would have certainly loved ...
3
votes
3answers
14k views

Using “so that” without modal verbs

I know that usually with "so that" there is a modal verb. However, I do not know if this is correct because there is not a modal verb. I will wake him up so that he does not (will not) miss the ...
-1
votes
1answer
931 views

How to create a questions from past modal verb sentences

I have no idea why my question was closed as it was pretty clear (at least for a person of average intelligence) so I am trying again: There is a sentence, e.g: He could have seen that. Will the ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is “can” such an odd verb?

The English verb can is very strange for several reasons: It drops the to on any infinitive verb forms that follow it. That is, unlike in the verb want in the sentence I want to eat, you would not ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“I have to” vs. “I must”

When would you use the following? I have to go the market. I must go to the market. I need to go to the market. If I replace 'have' with 'had' would you have any other way to say it? E.g. I had to ...
1
vote
2answers
321 views

Can I drop 'might' in this sentence without changes in meaning?

I was interested in the following sentence which appeared in an article titled “Rethinking the Afghanistan War’s What-Ifs" by David E. Sanger in The New York Times (July 31, 2010). The British ...
0
votes
4answers
360 views

“It might not be adequate and worsen” vs. “it might not be adequate and worsens”

The problem is this sentence: It might not be adequate in some cases and worsen the results. Is it correct or should I write "worsens the results"? If the effect of might not is propagated to ...
1
vote
2answers
294 views

“how soon I get” vs. “how soon I will get”

What is the difference between the following: It depends on how soon I get my visa. It depends on how soon I will get my visa.
1
vote
5answers
2k views

'You can' or 'You may' in online instruction text?

I need to add a small piece of help text to a search field in an online form. The placeholder text (grey text inside the text field) says "Type at least three characters". Then directly under the ...
18
votes
5answers
16k views

“How dare you” vs “How do you dare”

I know that dare is a semi-modal verb. I just don't know when to use it like a modal auxiliary verb and when to use it like a normal verb. Given the following examples: How dare you ... How do ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Using 'would' to form reasons

In the following examples: Why would anyone want to eat something so horrible? Who would live for forever? Why would I ever lie to you? Is 'would' being used to refer to time in future or past Or ...
2
votes
0answers
89 views

if or should to ask possibility? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: A special use of “should”? I have received an email which was starting wih this: Should you have any questions, please call at this number... So could ...
0
votes
2answers
299 views

Omission of “to” with deontic “have to” [closed]

In the following sentence from The New Yorker (emphasis added) Sarkozy [...] has spent much of his campaign trying to woo voters away from Le Pen [...] and he is only going to have grovel for them ...
-1
votes
4answers
156 views

Don't understand the connotation of the modal verb “may”

In the sentence there may be no legitimate form of reasoning to the best explanation understood as an alternative to inductive reasoning. does may be no mean that it is possible that there ...
2
votes
2answers
17k views

Difference between “does have” and “has” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “did shoot” vs “shot” 'Did see' and 'Saw' “I understand you” vs “I do understand you” What is the difference in meaning between “I play” and “I ...
0
votes
1answer
493 views

Meaning of sentence with 'would'

The sentence is: What would the people eat? Can it mean "What are the people going to eat?" in future Or, "What were the people going to eat?" talking about future from past Or, both?
1
vote
1answer
610 views

“It will depend on what I [will] see”

I want to refer to the future. When someone asks me: "what are you going to do when you have a chance to look at [something]?". How should I reply? Basically, the question is which one is correct (or ...
-2
votes
1answer
748 views

Questions with 'would' [closed]

Why most questions in English get asked with 'would'? Grammar books say that it's used for making a polite request, but doesn't talk about the grammar of the 'would' part. Do we have to answer ...
3
votes
4answers
185 views

“Paul would later transfer to McKinley High and join Kevin and Winnie.”

I read the following: After graduating from Junior High, Kevin and Winnie both go to McKinley High and Paul attends a prep school. Paul would later transfer to McKinley High and join Kevin and ...
0
votes
2answers
826 views

“Would” vs “Will”

In the following context is the word 'would' correct at all or do we have to use 'will'? Some countries grow hashish, and sometimes they would smuggle it to other countries. Some countries ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Reported Speech “Will” vs “Would”

I recently got confused with the following choices while talking to a friend after class: I sent her an email that I wouldn't come to the class. I sent her an email that I wouldn't be coming ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Can “mustn't” be used for conclusions?

I heard this sentence in an American film a while ago as I was watching it on DVD (the part after but is verbatim): "I'm doing my best but I mustn't be doing it right." This is something I ...
5
votes
1answer
381 views

How has the usage of 'should' varied over time? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Should” versus “would” In Spring 1936, Evelyn Waugh sent a marriage proposal to Laura Herbert, in which he wrote: [...] On the other ...
1
vote
3answers
360 views

“One way would be” vs “One way will be”?

What is the difference between "One way would be" and "One way will be"? Can both of them be used for future actions?
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Usage of “must have” in past tenses

So, I've checked Is "must" ever grammatical as a past tense verb? and Past tense of "must" when meaning logical probability and I'm also almost confident that I cannot say "must ...
0
votes
1answer
6k views

Must had vs must have [closed]

If someone says that they had been to Florida on a recent trip, which one of the following would be a correct respone: That must had been fun. That must have been fun. Or is there a ...
2
votes
2answers
744 views

Simple Present for Future Actions

Why can we use the following statement when we mean future events? What time do you get there? Or should we rather say: What time will you get there? Is there a difference?
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Would vs Will in future events

What is the difference between the following: Sorry, mate. I wouldn't be able to come for dinner. Sorry, mate. I won't be able to come for dinner.
3
votes
4answers
539 views

Past conditional statements

What is the difference between the following two statements? If I went home for dinner, I took a glass of soft drink. If I went home for dinner, I would take a glass of soft drink. Are both ...
2
votes
4answers
9k views

Difference between “can” and “may” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can/May/Will you help me with this? Which is correct if I want to request for a pen? Can I have your pen please? May I have your pen please?
0
votes
1answer
156 views

Is it right to say “Is John lie?” [closed]

So is it right to say "Is John lie?"? If yes, why not "Does John lie?" or "Is John lying?". Sorry if it sounds stupid, but I'm a bit confused.
4
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “ought not”?

Consider this example: A few strong branches over water reach for what they ought not reach. Which of the meanings comes closest to “ought not” in this sentence? Is it “doesn't have to”, “should ...
3
votes
1answer
960 views

“I can have had been”

Can you say "I can have had been..." doing something? Example: I can have had been reading a book if I could send a letter back in time to tell myself. So, not could have had been, specifically ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Grammar of 'dare' in this example

What is the grammar of the verb 'dare' in the following example? The pizza was nice but, dare I say it, the salad was awful.  Is it some type of imperative?
21
votes
7answers
11k views

Is “must” ever grammatical as a past tense verb?

I have seen uses of must that appear to be in the simple past tense. Sometimes these seem grammatical, but sometimes not. Examples that help illustrate my confusion: He knew he must go to New York ...
8
votes
3answers
403 views

Is it appropriate to omit “to” after “ought”?

Is it appropriate to omit to after ought? I ought to be disciplined for my insolence. Vs. I ought be disciplined for my insolence. Is it okay to omit the to?
7
votes
5answers
926 views

What's the tense for repetitive past action?

In English, "would" usually denotes a conditional voice. "If I were sleepy, I would go to bed." But I've caught myself using it to denote repetitive or habitual past action. "On Thursdays, we would ...
2
votes
2answers
11k views

Using “should be” meaning like “will be”?

CloudEdit is an extremely simple document editing app. Here are the specs: Users should see a list of the latest documents. To edit, the user clicks the document in the list. Users should be ...
4
votes
1answer
165 views

Is it appropriate to omit “will not be”?

Often, someone will say: I'm not living in a senior's home! When the intended meaning is: I will not be living in a senior's home! Is this acceptable?
4
votes
2answers
474 views

Conditionals in the future

My colleague and I have a hot discussion about which is correct. My version is: If you don't fix the bug I will send you a patch. and his one is: I would send you a patch if you don't fix ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Usage of “will” and “would”

Which one is correct? What would I do without you. What will I do without you. You would always be my favorite travel buddy. You will always be my favorite travel buddy.
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “will never have been” valid English?

I was reading this phrase "will never have been" and I was wondering what grammatical structure does it belong to / is it grammatical? I'm not sure why but it sounds weird. What is the difference ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Must the word after “can” be present tense?

http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/transcriptions/EWD04xx/EWD498.html: We can found no scientific discipline, nor a hearty profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and, ...
1
vote
1answer
926 views

“Dare” with and without “to”

To my surprise, there's a missing question about this particularly interesting verb, dare. All I know about it is the fact it can be in two forms, as an auxiliary (without to: "I dare not mention ...
1
vote
3answers
534 views

“Will be able to”

One of my friends told me that "will be able to" is a wrong phrase. Able doesn't fit with will. Is this true?
1
vote
3answers
2k views

How would you use “can” in a future sentence?

If you purchase this then you will be able to do that. How can I write the above statement using "can"?
1
vote
1answer
901 views

Rule for when to use “could” as a helper?

It would be helpful if you could provide us further details. Is the use of could wrong here? Should it be It would be helpful if you provide us further details. What is the rule when should ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Can I say “We don't must”, any alternative using a modal verb if I can't?

Let me explain. Suppose someone says "We must play a game now". I disagree, but only on that we have to do it. I shouldn't answer "We must not" because I would be saying that the game is not to be ...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

Using “will” twice in a sentence

Is it correct to use will twice in the following sentence? When you will come to see me we will have dinner together.